LLEAP Adjunct Spotlight: Holly Marie Wilson Invites Students to Practice Using Their Voices

Holly Marie Wilson headshot

In the law school’s Legal Writing, Leadership, Experiential Education, Advocacy and Professionalism (“LLEAP”) program, practicing attorneys teach a simulation component in each course. Holly Marie Wilson is one of three such adjunct professors who leads simulations in Melissa Ghrist’s LLEAP 3 – Appellate Practice course.

Wilson focuses on appellate advocacy at Reminger Co., LPA, in Cleveland. She pursues appeals nationwide in many legal disciplines, including professional liability, retail and hospitality, employment practices, and public entity liability. Wilson also chairs the firm’s Educational Law Liability Practice Group, defending teachers, schools, and education boards against both federal and state claims. She has earned from Martindale-Hubbell® the highest possible rating—AV Preeminent®—for both her legal abilities and ethical standards in 2024, and The Best Lawyers in America® has recognized her for insurance law since 2021.

While this was Wilson’s first time teaching law students, she began her career as an elementary school teacher in Cleveland’s public schools.

“The basic principles of teaching are really the same,” she explained. The teacher’s job “is to reach every single one of your students” and to “accommodate their different needs to the best of your ability.” Wilson loved getting back into the classroom. She was particularly impressed with the maturity and life experiences of her students, as well as with the creativity of their legal arguments.

“Wilson’s students reciprocated this admiration,” says Ghrist. They found that her insights strongly enriched the course and that she is “great in communicating course content.”

When asked if she had any encouragement for students who are nervous about delivering appellate oral arguments, Wilson shared that she still feels the nerves even though she’s now approaching close to 100 oral arguments.

“The first dozen or so oral arguments I did, I was terrified. I mean, I was shaking up there at the podium.” It takes practice to get more comfortable, she explained. “I don’t know anyone who’s ever said that they practiced too much!” Wilson’s simulated oral arguments in LLEAP 3 – Appellate Practice allowed her students to do just that.

“She really went above and beyond,” said Ghrist. Wilson took the initiative to recruit two others to help judge her students’ arguments: Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals Judge Michelle Sheehan and Brianna Prislipsky, an appellate associate at Reminger. Wilson expressed that the more perspectives students can get, the better.

Wilson emphasized that the practice of law “requires more than learning the cases. You need to think independently and have good communication and writing skills.” She stressed that oral advocacy is essential: “I don’t know anyone who has a legal job who’s not talking. We’re always advocating a position. You have to get used to using your voice.”